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The Intel International Science & Engineering Fair is the most prominent science fair in the country, and it takes a special blend of drive, heart, and smarts to win there. Dutton goes inside the inner sanctum of science fair competitions and reveals the awe-inspiring projects and the competitors there. Each of the kids--ranging from a young Erin Brokovich who made the FBI watch list for taking on a big corporation, to a quietly driven boy who lives in a run-down trailer on a Navajo reservation, to a wealthy Connecticut girl who dreams of being an actress and finds her calling studying bees, to a troubled teenager in a juvenile detention facility, to the next Bill Gates--take readers on an unforgettable journey.
Along the way, Science Fair Season gives readers a glimpse of America's brightest young minds and shows how our country is still a place for inventors and dreamers--the "geeks" our future depends upon.
"A genuine delight! It's exhilarating to see the spirit of history's great scientists in these students. Judy Dutton's tale is filled with drama and the adventure of scientific discovery. Glee with test tubes!"—Henry R. Schlesinger, author of The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution
"Despite the attention placed on athletics, our future will not be made by the boys and girls who play on America's lavish playing fields. Instead, everything we cherish depends on the sturdy young people who compete in the dusty halls of our science fairs. Within the book's pages are tales of true heroism, that of courageous students who are willing to struggle and persevere and finally succeed."—Homer Hickam, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller October Sky
"I'm a big fan of international science fairs and have longed for a book that sings their praises. This book delivers in spades. These kids prove that the creativity and drive that make this country great are alive and well. If you're tired of hearing how American kids have fallen behind in terms of science education and otherwise, read this book for a renewed sense of hope."—Leon Lederman, Nobel Laureate and author of The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
"We must teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Superbowl that needs to be celebrated but the winner of the science fair."—President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address
A heart-gladdening tale of 11 students contesting for top honors in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
The Intel ISEF showcases the work of 1,500 high schoolers across the globe vying for $4 million in prizes and scholarships. It is the first-stop recruiting venue for universities, research and development labs and medical programs. The quality of work is astounding; said one judge: "The level of sophistication in these projects is in many cases beyond the level of graduate school and doctoral research." Though Dutton (How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover, 2009) occasionally lapses into a schmaltzy mode—"The lesson I would learn from her was that the ultimate reward for doing science fairs isn't fame, or money, or college scholarships...It's about connecting with the people you care most about"—there is no denying her genuine admiration and affection for the contestants. The characters include Garrett, whose project brought heat and hot water to his hardscrabble family; BB, who brought her bout with leprosy to the fore; and Eliza, the anti-nerd, a rich, beautiful model who investigated the collapse of honeybee colonies and contended with her looks as a deterrent. Dutton describes the projects with an easeful clarity, illuminating the world of "the most hardworking, humbling, and heartbreaking group of young men and women."
It's been a while since science nerds were true outcasts, but this group shines in the best of oddball company.
Chapter 1 The Radioactive Whiz Kid 11
Chapter 2 The Junkyard Genius 32
Chapter 3 "Me? Leprosy?" 53
Chapter 4 Stars Behind Bars 69
Chapter 5 Horse Therapy 89
Chapter 6 The Kid Who Took on Dupont 110
Chapter 7 The Meltdown 131
Chapter 8 Glove Boy 149
Chapter 9 Eliza and the Bees 168
Chapter 10 Listening to Lorena 187
Chapter 11 The Next Bill Gates 206
Chapter 12 The Super Bowl of Science Fairs 227
Chapter 13 "And the Winner is…" 243
Posted March 2, 2013
Posted August 1, 2011
I was so in awe of these kids. The science fair is almost like an American rite of passage and when I remember my own limited experience with it (brain sizes versus intelligence in animals), I smile. It was a very good experience, but in the region where I grew up it wasn't something too many people pursued. And, while I liked doing some science stuff, it was mostly on my own--I liked creating experiments.
I was fascinated by a lot of the projects, and I really liked how committed author Judy Dutton was at getting the story; Dutton got a very big picture of each individual kid and how they fit in the fair. My favorite projects were the autism project, the horse project, the bumblebee project and the green heating project.
Kudos to author Judy Dutton, and to all of the kids she selected as part of her project. And, special thanks to NetGalley and Hyperion books for allowing me to review this!
I received this book, in digital format, for my honest review. And I can honestly say, I was very impressed with it.
Posted July 20, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted May 15, 2011
No text was provided for this review.